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Dream Empire tops the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival’s awards list


- David Borenstein’s documentary focusing on China’s real-estate bubble took home the Golden Alexander, while Rahul Jain’s Machines won second place

Dream Empire tops the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival’s awards list
Dream Empire director David Borenstein accepts his award via a video message (© Ververidis Vasilis/Motion Team)

Featuring over 200 documentaries from across the globe, the 19th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (TDF) dropped its curtains on Sunday night by handing out its awards during a festival closing gala that was as breezy as they come. Presented by local film critic and TV personality Theodore Koutsogiannopoulos, the TDF’s closing gala saw David Borenstein’s documentary Dream Empire pick up the Golden Alexander, the gathering’s top honour, accompanied by a €5,000 prize.

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The IDFA-premiered Danish production, which focuses on the Chinese real-estate bubble as viewed through the eyes of a 24-year-old rural migrant, was selected as best of show by the five-member International Competition jury, which was headed by European Documentary Network director Paul Pauwels (Belgium) and consisted of professor Dina Iordanova (Bulgaria), journalist Laurent Rigoulet (France), and directors Talal Derki (Syria) and Marianna Economou (Greece).

Having already picked up the Greek Parliament’s Human Values Award as well as the FIPRESCI Jury Award, Rahul Jain’s Machines [+see also:
film profile
(India/Germany/Finland), focusing on India’s labour market, also secured second place in the TDF’s International Competition, picking up the Silver Alexander along with the €2,000 prize. Shedding light on the Yazidi genocide, Angelos RallisShingal, Where Are You? (Greece/Belgium/Austria) rounded off the event’s main awards by picking up the jury’s Special Mention.

Dominikos IgnatiadisVillage Potemkin (Greece), offering an autobiographical look at the long and painful process of escaping drug addiction, was tapped as Best Greek Film by the Greek Film Critics’ Association (PEKK), while Konstantina Ouroumi’s The Glass Dragon (Greece), Angelos KovotsosString-less (Greece), Susan Koenen’s Ahmad’s Hair (the Netherlands) and Zaradasht Ahmed’s Nowhere to Hide [+see also:
film profile
(Norway/Sweden) picked up the TDF’s Audience Awards, presented by Fischer. 

Moreover, Madeleine Leroyer won the Doc on Air Award (equivalent to a €3,000 funding sum handed out by local state broadcaster ERT SA) for her project The Watchmen, which was presented at the EDN Pitching Forum during the TDF.

The full list of awards is as follows:

Best Documentary – Golden Alexander
Dream Empire – David Borenstein (Denmark)

Special Jury Award
Machines [+see also:
film profile
– Rahul Jain (India/Germany/Finland)

Special Mention
Shingal, Where Are You? – Angelos Rallis (Greece/Belgium/Austria)

Human Values Award of the Hellenic Parliament
Machines – Rahul Jain

ERT SA Doc on Air Award
The Watchmen – Madeleine Leroyer (producer: Valérie Montmartin, of Little Big Story, France)

Amnesty International Award
I Am Not Your Negro [+see also:
film profile
– Raoul Peck (USA/France/Belgium/Switzerland)

WWF Award
Days of a Lake – Pandora Mouriki (Greece)

Machines – Rahul Jain 

Greek Film Critics' Association (PEKK) Award for a Greek Film
Village Poetmkin – Dominikos Ignatiadis

Fischer Audience Awards

Peter Wintonick Audience Award (for a film over 50 minutes in the International Selection)
Nowhere to Hide [+see also:
film profile
– Zaradasht Ahmed (Norway/Sweden) 

Audience Award (for a film under 50 minutes in the International Selection)
Ahmad’s Hair – Susan Koenen (the Netherlands) 

Audience Award (for a Greek film over 50 minutes)
String-less – Angelos Kovotsos

Audience Award (for a Greek film under 50 minutes)
The Glass Dragon – Konstantina Ouroumi

Youth Jury Awards

Best Film
The Snake Charmer – Nina Maria Paschalidou (Cyprus/Greece)

Special Jury Award
Eyes of Exodus – Alexandra Liveris (USA/Greece)

Sarajevo Report
Locarno Report

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